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AleSmith Grand Cru Ale - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
AleSmith Grand Cru AleAleSmith Grand Cru Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

370 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 370
Hads: 828
Avg: 4.06
pDev: 15.27%
Wants: 107
Gots: 165 | FT: 11
Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Jason on 04-27-2002

Bottle conditioned.
AleSmith Grand Cru really needs to be tasted to be truly appreciated. Toasty, caramelly flavors, as well as flavors imparted by the Belgian yeast strain, predominate over a tapestry of subtle nuances. Winner of the blue ribbon at the 1999 California State Fair, it is a thing of beauty. It is available in 750 ml. champagne bottles.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 370 | Hads: 828
Photo of teromous
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: The body is a dark mahogany red-brown with a very good clarity. The head is a short foamy white cap that fades shortly to a ring. Some lacing.

Aroma: Banana and clove that smell nice but have a mellow presence that doesn't extend past the rim of the glass.

Taste: Very nice flavors here. It's a wonderful bouquet of flavors consisting of clove, light toasted bread, brown sugar, a bit of earthiness at the end. No strong alcohol character here.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is great. It's fairly full bodied with a nice smoothness to it. No alcohol burn.

Overall: It is an outstanding beer that I would recommend. It is a pleasant beer to drink that delivers the Belgian yeast character that drinkers of this style have come to expect. I would buy it again.

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Photo of bnes09
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Iced tea appearing ale. Light tan head goes flat very quickly.

Chocolate, dark fruit, pepper and funky yeast aroma.

Nice, complex, dark fruit, subtle caramel, mild chocolate and yeast flavor. Minimal hop flavor.

Full body. Not sticky. Minimal malt texture. Clean. Descent carbonation.

A solid Belgian style ale. Quite enjoyable.

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Photo of cjgiant
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle, no apparent date:
Initial thoughts were on a cold beer (below suggested temps on bottle of 50-55°), changes noted as the beer warmed.

Nice ruby-brown with a billowing head of light reddish tan. Significant condensation with the cold beer, but fighting through the lasting head, the beer seems to have a fair amount of clarity of substance (color being the blocker of light).

Nose seems strong on banana Belgian yeast notes. I think I got some spiciness early, but really not as much as the beer warmed, oddly. Warming beer and deep sniffs added a little alcohol and definitely some tart cherry to the party. A more normal sniff yielded some apple and strawberry.

Beer starts with toffee and fruity taste. Mildly sweet pop backed by some strawberry-banana notes. Some amber ale characteristics come to play mid taste before a dull woody unsweetened cocoa nib note comes forth. This taste is somewhat unique, and as the flavor fades I almost get a real coconut impression (meaning not very sweet at all). A very interesting ending that I see as bland apple in some dips, and raw coffee-bean notes in others (or what I would assume this tastes like).

Carbonation is a bit higher than I'd like for this beer, and there's a light sting of alcohol.

Very interesting beer, and pretty different than most beers out there. Strangeness has me perplexed as to how much I really like this beer.

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Photo of argock
3.99/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml brown bottle into a glass snifter. Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville,VA).

A: dark brown-Amber with minimal off-white head with minimal retention and no lacing.

S: boozy fig and raisin with woody herbal tones on huge yeast esters of peach, pear, and apricot layered with caramel. Big delicious aroma.

T: pretty boozy and alcoholic but hugely estery with the same slightly phenolic peach and pear esters dripping with fig, toffee and caramel. Woody leather bitterness. Big bad sweet BSDA. Could use a little roastiness to offset the sweetness.

M: very smooth but slightly tacky with low-medium carbonation and full body.

O: good beer and a great display of yeast esters. A little too sweet and alcoholic but I could see this improving with 2-3 years of cellaring.

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.21/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The beer pours a nice cream colored head that dissipates quickly. The beer itself is a nice and clear amber-brown color. The beer has a beautiful hue and is fairly pleasing to look at.

The smell is pretty good. The smell has a subtle lightly toasted malt note and some spice that blends into the more heavier malt notes. The heavier malt notes come off as fairly fruity and closer resembles dark fruits such as dates. The hop note is fairly light and mixes in with the dark fruit notes but the bitterness is there and keeps the beer from being too sweet. Also, there is a very light and hidden alcohol note.

The taste has the same notes as the smell but is the better of the two. The lightly toasted malt note is still there but is a bit stronger and less subtle. The malt has the same dark fruit notes and the light hop bitterness. However, the spice notes are also a bit stronger. The alcohol is also still there.

The feel is heavy bodied but very smooth. The carbonation gives it a bit of bite and texture, which makes it even better.

Overall, a pretty good beer and worth getting at least once.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a mostly brown body with minimal head and a little bit of lace. The aroma is light with notes of yeast and dark fruits like figs, possible raisins or plums. Medium bodied, a little bit sticky and sweet as the yeast helps it smoothly pass and not boozy at all but mostly a sweet body of caramel, toffee, figs and raisins. Not the most complex Belgian style ale that you'll find but the sweet notes are not overpowering and everything seems to balance itself and beer is quite enjoyable.

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Photo of GuitarIPA
4.24/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Lost Nation
Great brown amber color, smelled and tastes include cherries, vanilla, caramel an malt - a bit on the sweet side but smooth and delicious

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Photo of Vylo
4.87/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Dark ale (duh) with very little head and strong pleasant smell. Tasted great, but mouthfeel was a bit off, needs more carbonation. My bottle was a year old so that may be a factor. Worth trying for sure.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.79/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

750 ml bottle, 2013 edition, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, deep, dark, mahogany color with a half of a finger of white-colored head that dissolved away into a lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Wow! Very aromatic! Tons of bready, toasted malt imparting notes of freshly baked bread, as well as tons of aromas of dried stone fruit, such as dates, apricots and prunes. There’s notes of candied sugar, funky Belgian yeast, which imparts notes of saddle leather, chestnuts. Earthy and inviting.

Taste: Wow! Delicious! Lots of bready, toasted malt up front, followed by lots of dried stone fruit, raisins, prunes, dates, currents, apricots, and candied sugar. There’s also quite a bit of Belgian yeast, which imparts some funk and a touch of sourness at the finish. There’s some spice notes too, such as black pepper, all-spice and a touch of ginger.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and very effervescent, as there’s quite a bit of carbonation to tickle the taste buds. With an ABV of 10%, there is quite the pleasant alcohol warmth on the palate.

Overall: Wow! What an excellent beer. Strong, complex flavors wrapped up in an excellent mouthfeel. Alesmith knocked it out of the park with this beer! Highly recommended.

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Photo of SensorySupernova
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Clear brown amber. Low off-white head settled to a faint ring.

Smell: Caramel, Belgian yeast, ethanol.

Taste: Intense spicy yeast up front, very Belgian. Into a sweet, caramel malt; raisins. Ends with a bit of clean ethanol heat and a faint, slightly bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Fairly thick, low carbonation.

Overall: Good special occasion brew. Everything fits together nicely.

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Chestnut brown in color with lots of carbonation problems throughout the body. There's no head whatsoever. The aroma is very subdued but I detect dark Belgian candy sugar and sweet dark malt. The flavor much more aggressive than the nose implies. There is a large concentration of dark Belgian candy sugarand sweet,dark malt. Belgian yeast gives it a tart acidic red wine edge. The mouth is warm with alcohol and moderately carbonated.

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Photo of john0721
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle poured into a goblet.

brown, off white head

brown sugar and dark fruit in the nose.

taste - dark fruit: prune, plum with raisin building as it oxidizes and warms.

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Photo of brentk56
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 3/5/14

Appearance: Has the authentic Belgian look, with a massive, frothy head perching on top of the burnt caramel colored liquid; excellent retention with multiple strands of lacing left behind

Smell: Date and banana, with yeasty phenols, toasty tones and treacle

Taste: Treacle and toast, up front, with a growing dark fruit (raisin and date) influence; in the mid-palate, the phenolic tones develop as does a spicy character (clove, cardamom and a touch of ginger); a touch boozy, in the finish, but the flavors all meld together

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate to high carbonation

Overall: I recall in the early days of BA the reverence paid to the BSDA style and, with not many US craft brewers working in the genre, it has been a while since I have had one; this beer reminds me how good the style can be; rarely have domestic brewers tackled the style as well as AleSmith has done with this beer; a true Grand Cru

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a tulip glass. I couldn’t find any date on it, but I know for a fact I’ve had it stored for at least 6 years.

A: The beer is a dark brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains strong notes of candy sugar, dark fruit, caramelized malts, Belgian yeast and a very faint touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with strong candy-like sweetness from flavors of brown sugar, caramel, dark fruit and licorice. Then some breadiness comes in from Belgian yeast and a hearty malt character. There’s also a significant alcohol sting that follows. The hops presence is very mild but considering the age it’s a wonder that there’s any left at all. The balance comes together some as you continue to drink the beer.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation (another shocking attribute for a beer of this age), finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down dangerously easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, it’s a solid beer to sip on for a while but there are better beers in to age for a long period of time.

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Photo of BuckeyeSlim
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%

Notes of yeast and gentle spicing. Nutmeg, white pepper, cardamom. Foundation of moderately toasted malts, caramels and toffee with some ABV floating above. Plums, moist raisins, dried dark red fruit. Nose is soft and needs coaxing, but well worth it. After it warms in the glass, the ABV includes sugared orange rind and takes on a brandy personna.

Rich caramel malts and dark fruit jam open. Spices from the nose follow after the ABV moves over the tongue. Finish offers traces of anise, pepper, and raisins / dried black cherries with caramel and toffee.

Smooth and rich without being thick. Good carbonation with a solid body. Components are extremely well-integrated, offering a complex and nuanced melange of flavors.

Want to make a great impression at a small dinner party? Take a bottle or two and some small tulip glasses and serve this with dessert. Ben & Jerry's Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch would be an outstanding match. This is a libation that's meant to be shared, enjoyed, and appreciated. Great stuff.

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Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +17%

Nose: very fruity nose (plums) over spice and malt, dried fruit, brown sugar
Pours hazy reddish amber to deep brown with a thin white quickly dissipating head that provides light lace. Has legs.
Palate: Starts sweet with a wine quality, plums, brown sugar, toasted grains, with a gentle, balancing hop finish.
Mouth feel: Very creamy medium to medium full body, medium high carbonation, warming but not harsh or solventy alcohol.
A classic

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Photo of jellikit
4.49/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Crystal clear. Deep copper. Thin foamy head.

S: Cream Soda. Vanilla. Prune.

T: Raisin, prune, fig, vanilla, slight chocolate. Well balanced with the flavors and the booze.

M: medium carbonation, medium body. Velvety goodness.

O: great beer. Well balanced. Easy drinking for a big beer. Will buy again.

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Photo of seand
4.37/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a translucent reddish brown with a fair amount of tan head. This dissipates to a ring around the edge of the glass, which leaves mild lacing.

S: Candied honey sweetness, with a touch of booze.

T: Full candied raisin-y sweetness leading into some mild but noticeable booze towards the finish. Extremely well balanced, deep, complex, and sweet, but well short of the cloying line. The finish is a touch sticky.

M: Full body, medium carbonation, and perfectly matches the flavor profile.

Overall, this is truly an excellently constructed beer. Everything is very well balanced, and the end result is complex, rich, and very enjoyable.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
2.82/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I completed an IRONMAN 70.3 in Haines City on April 13 and popped this beer open that afternoon to celebrate my accomplishment. I wish I would have opened something else :(

I received this in a trade about 7 or 8 years ago. Popped the cork and there wasn't a lot of fizzy sounds coming from the bottle, which usually portends a lack of carbonation. The beer emerges hazy and muddy and ruddy brown in color with not much head on the beer or carbonation. Looks very dull and rather unappealing.

Aroma was sweet and caramelly and oxidized. This bottle has not held up well. I have kept this one is a cellar since I received it. No real spark or anything to the aroma.

Flavor was dull and muted as well. Sweet and alcoholic, mostly flat with very little carbonation. Perhaps a fresh bottle of this is delicious, but one aged in perfect conditions for 7 years doesn't hold up well. Not sure what to say about this one except it was a huge disappointment. Belgian styles are supposed to stand the test of time; not this one.

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Photo of msquared36
3.02/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

Very dark with a deep red tint.

Aroma is roasted malt with a hint of smoke.

Malty and fruity - dark fruit like plum and cherry. Very sweet finish.

Very smooth and substantial.

A little too sweet for me. Seems to get sweeter as it warms. Lacks complexity, maybe it would be better aged. Tough to get through the whole bottle because it gets syrupy. First Alesmith I've tried that isn't great.

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Photo of TheDoctor
4.06/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a ruddy copper that is fairly clear with a creamy three fingers of beige head that rapidly settles to a film that beefs back up with a quick swirl . Decent retention; little to no lacing.

Spicy, yeasty, phenols. Raisins, bitter orange, nutmeg, with roast nuts underneath it all.

Spicy and complex with some very prominent fruity notes. Orange, coriander, caramel, dark fruits, earth and a subtle rind-like medicinal hop flavor underlying it all. Pretty over-arching lacquer-like alcohol flavor present.

Warm, medium- to full-bodied and coating. The alcohol has a nice, even warming feeling and the relatively strong carbonation counterbalances the creamy, warm coatingness of the rest of it.

Good take on a big Belgian beer.
If I described this beer with one word it would be spicy. Everything about it is phenol-laced, yeasty, and warm as could be. Not the best-looking beer (but pretty good for how stiff it is). Everything else is a tingly counterpoint to the brandy-like coating warmth of it. Spicy, boozy, darkly fruit-tinged.
Would have again; worth having if you can get it.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.06/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

a real beauty of a beer here, an elegant and well refined glass of ale. the color is dark, a belgian strong dark by nature, but more than that. grand cru has no meaning really, but in this case refers to a special beer released just once a year. a caramel colored brew with a dried fruit nose of raisins and molasses, and a classic fruity ester yeast strain. flavors of liquid cereal and brown sugar, like a real good granola. yeast and grain driven flavor, in equal parts, but sweetness lingers and prevails. a toffee or butterscotch dessert vibe, fancy from the get go, but i like the way it slides from soil minerals to sunny harvest grains to sugars melting and about to burn. the yeast makes it though, high gravity belgain stuff that cleans up all the heaviness. not overcarbonated, but its not too filling. more sugar than i need, and one bottle is way too much to take down solo. extremely well hidden alcohol is the most impressive feature. a beer for once in a while, but a special one.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.24/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Brown with a touch of orange and a light brown head.

S: Orange, mango and a general fruitiness in the nose.

T: Lots of orange, banana and maybe some pineapple.

M: Medium-full bodied, decent amount of carbonation.

O: Typical of the style? No. Alesmith's best beer? Definitely not. A great beer in and of itself? Definitely. Try it.

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Photo of blindtiger24
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

A: Starts with a thick, frothy two finger head that thins out. Active carbonation that pokes up through the head. A bright ruby / garnet color.

S: Huge yeast ester and phenol aromas with hints of granny smith apples, plums, and clove.

T: Graham cracker flavor from the malt and the esters provide tart apple and caramelized banana that sweetens the finish.

M: Medium body with a lingering sticky sweetness.

O: A loyal and accurate take on the classic Belgian ale. Perfect for fall / winter and pairing with the holiday meals.

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Photo of REDAMI
4.51/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750ml bottle into Chimay goblet.

A - Medium to deep golden brown. Off white head dissipated quickly.

S - Dried fruits, dates, raisins, buttery yeast, spice, sweet malt.

T - Spice warmth, Belgian yeast, with a nutty finish.

M - Some alcohol bite, but not overpowering. Fine, stinging carbonation.

A great American interpretation of a Belgian beer. Very enjoyable for a Christmas Eve beer.

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AleSmith Grand Cru Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 370 ratings.